NYFLC 2013: General Assembly II – The Fight for Women’s Rights & Health Worldwide

By Emily Butler
Anushay Hossain opens GAII

It’s important for young feminists to be involved in the fight for women’s rights both at home and abroad. This general assembly was moderated by the Global Programs Director of Feminist Majority Foundation, Anushay Hossain. Hossain discussed the importance of ratifying CEDAW in the United States, to take a stand for women and girls around the world. It is our mission, and we hope “Ensure that every girl around the world has access to quality education.”

The GA featured influential feminists such as:

  • Anu Kumar, Executive Vice President, IPAS
    “Our message is women’s rights are at stake and their lives are at stake everywhere.”
    “Every ninety seconds a woman dies in pregnancy and childbirth… in the developing world… These deaths, especially in 2013, do not need to occur.”
    “Legal status doesn’t actually change the rate of abortions. Legal status does help women find their way to safe abortion and that is very important.”
    Kumar talked extensively about the Helms Amendment and how it hinders the United States in helping family planning around the globe. “The Helms Amendment is the institutionalization of stigma.”
  • Seema Jalan, Director of Universal Access Project and Policy, United Nations Foundation, talked about the importance of taking every opportunity. Jalan was inspiring to so many young feminists who are approaching graduation and beginning their careers by sharing her experience working in the private sector, interning, going back to school, and finding a way to work for her passion.
    “I learned how to take my passion for talking… and I made that into a job.”
  • Jennifer Redner, Senior Program Officer U.S. Foreign Policy and Advocacy, International Women’s Health Coalition
    “Women are and should be treated as equal citizens of the world.”
    “We need to vocalize and express that [women and girls] ARE the majority!”
    Redner talked to the crowd about child marriage survivors and organizations working to aid these girls.
    “The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrial world.”
    “Make sure you tell them loud and clear what you want for yourself and women and girls around the world.”
  • Zareen Taj, Afgan Scholars Program, Feminist Majority Foundation
    “Education is a pathway to autonomy… Education of women unlocks the shackles of oppression in Afghanistan.”
    “At the age of 14 when became activist I came out of the silent role.”
    “Education gave me a voice to speak for myself and to speak for other Afghan women.”
    “If I didn’t receive that scholarship… I would never be able to fulfill the dream I had for a long time.”
    “They are not longer purely victims… they are survivors.”
  • Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President, Feminist Majority Foundation & Executive Editor, Ms. Magazine
    “Boys and girls around the world have the right to be educated…  There’s a gender gap to access to education.”
    “There are two battlegrounds for advancing girls’ global rights. The first is the US Congress… The second is the United Nations.”
    “Neither culture not tradition can trump human rights.”
    “We don’t care that it’s an uphill battle…” Feminists will fight! We all need to talk about CEDAW.
    “Now is the time to talk about girls education and girls rights.”
  • Sheethal Jose, Girls Learn International (GLI) Alum, University of Virginia
    “Coming from India I knew how much education meant to these girls… [The parents] did not consider in investing in their daughter’s education as any value to them. ”
    “GLI is the perfect platform for an immense cultural exchange.” GLI and their partner schools exchange letters and scrapbooks to understand the history and culture of other nations.
    “I’m hoping to pursue a career path in global health and advocacy.” What an inspiration to young feminists!


If you missed General Assembly II, you can watch the video on our Ustream channel: http://bit.ly/nyflcTV

Coming up on Ustream at 3:30 to 5:00: Closing Assembly – Feminist Action from Campuses to State Capitols

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